Is There Such a Thing as Over-Exercising?
It is an undeniable fact that exercise brings numerous benefits to your health and is directly linked to a fresher, more energetic, and longer life.
Multiple health experts have emphasized the importance of regular exercise, who state that less exercise often results in health complications and laziness.
Given its immense importance, many people have taken it upon themselves to dedicate their time to this regime and motivate others to do the same. This, however, may not always bring fruitful results for the doer.
Even though exercise is beneficial for your health, doing it excessively brings adverse impacts to your mental as well as physical well-being.
Just like all things in the world, you should strive to attain a perfect balance between resting and exercising for optimal results.
Unfortunately, in many cases, people become addicted to the rush after extensive periods of exercising or love how responsive, light and better they feel after finishing their workout routine. No matter what the case is, over-exercising can ultimately bring drastic impacts on your body and, therefore, must be avoided at all costs.
There are a few pointers that you must know to prevent yourself from crossing the thin line between regular and over-exercising.
First and foremost, remember that most experts advise exercising for a duration of 30 to 60 minutes at most, as an average person.
Of course, you can extend this period if you are a professional athlete or preparing for an upcoming competition. But for the average man, an hour of exercise is plenty enough.
So, you are putting your health and life expectancy at risk if you try to overstep this boundary.
Additionally, exercising for prolonged intervals might make you addicted to the act. Sure, it seems weird to hear that someone is addicted to exercising, but this is entirely possible and can happen more frequently than you would expect.
Exercising is a ritual, a routine, and like all routines, it can swallow you and make you irrevocably fixated on it.
You won’t realize it until it is too late, and this habit of yours will end in doom for you from a health-based perspective.
Some definitive indicators can help you realize your unhealthy addiction to exercise and get the right support in due time.
Continue reading ahead to learn about these symptoms in detail and find the path you need to take in case you have been exercising too much recently.
Signs and Symptoms of Over-Exercising
Some of the signs that you should look out for when it comes to over-exercising are as follows:
Sore muscles are a major indicator and consequence of an intense workout. But you should know that this short-lived sensation subsides soon after the workout.
However, if you continue experiencing sore muscles for several days after a workout, it might indicate that you are pushing your body way too hard.
Sleep is essential for every human since the body naturally uses this time to repair and revitalize after an extensive workout session.
So, suppose you are having trouble falling asleep or not sleeping in general (insomnia). In that case, it might be a sign of over-exercising since normal exercise promotes sleep while immoderate exercise can affect it negatively.
Weakness and Fatigue
Feeling tired after finishing an exercise session is perfectly normal and justified. However, you should eventually return to your usual energy level within a few hours.
If this is not the case with you and fatigue is a constant companion after working out, you are most likely pushing your body beyond its capabilities and doing more harm than good.
You are supposed to perform better after normal exercise sessions, not worse. A healthy and salubrious workout is bound to leave you energized, motivated, and ready to do better in your everyday tasks.
But, if you instead end up performing poorly in these chores and have little to no energy during the day, it is a prominent sign of indulging in over-exercising.
Loss of Appetite
The body’s main source of energy is the food you eat. Therefore, a good workout routine should work up your appetite and leave you anticipating the next meal.
Sounds strange, doesn’t it, that exercising too much can lead to weight gain? Unfortunately, weight gain is an unarguable sign of over-exercising and happens when your body continues retaining its fats, no matter how intense or long your workout sessions are.
Your immune system is the body’s first line of defence against bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms that can harm the body.
Regulated and normal exercise can be great for reinforcing the effectiveness of your immune system. However, if your immune system’s performance is lowered or impeded due to regular exercise, it means you are doing it too much.
Systemic inflammation differs from sore muscles and is a consequence of your immune system continuously fighting against severe diseases.
It is a potential catalyst for other life-threatening chronic illnesses. It does this by promoting systemic inflammation in your body.
Along with its physical benefits, exercising appeals to a vast audience because of its ability to significantly boost your mood even on bad days.
However, it can cause depression and anxious moods when done in unmonitored and unregulated amounts.
This happens because your body’s hormones are not properly released, which leads to frequent bursts of depressive and moody episodes.
Usually, training and exercise can be completed without any hassles or sustaining any injury. But you are bound to get injured if you work out excessively and ignore your current physical form.
That is why a wounded body is a clear side effect of partaking in over-exercise.
The Long-Term Effects and Consequences of Over-Exercising:
Over-exercising can bring devastating results for you in the short as well as long-term period. However, in contrast to its short-term effects, the long-term consequences are far worse, as you can see from the list below:
- Too much exercise can greatly damage your kidneys and heart. In certain cases, over-exercising leads to rhabdomyolysis, a severe and potentially fatal medical condition. This condition causes proteins and electrolytes to seep into the blood from exercise-damaged muscles, which in turn can adversely affect these vital organs.
- It brings catastrophic effects on the female body. Women may suffer from osteoporosis due to overexercising, which can then cause fluctuations in their menstruation cycle.
- For men, partaking in over-exercising leads to a drastic decrease in the level of their sexual drive.
- Exercising beyond need compromises the immune system’s performance, which is one of the worst consequences of this activity. It is very common for people who engage in rigorous gym sessions or marathon training.
- Another alarming repercussion is the development of several mental disorders due to over-exercising. For example, it has been noted that over-exercising can result in depression, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder(OCD), and anxiety in multiple subjects.
Could You Be Addicted to Exercise?
Yes, as unbelievable as it sounds at first, getting addicted to exercise is a super possible and common occurrence.
Even though there is no concrete evidence to promise the presence of this disorder, you can assess yourself based on the following indicators:
- Feeling increasingly agitated, angry, or bitter in case of missing a workout session. This feeling typically lasts for several days and only goes away once you are back on track with your workout routine.
- If you are constantly exhausted and get injured often while exercising, then it is an evident sign of your addiction to exercise and your unwillingness to stop anytime soon.
- The exercise begins to take over your time, social responsibilities, and everyday obligations. It becomes an escape whenever you want to withdraw from the real world.
- When you start prioritizing exercise above close relationships and prefer to spend time in the gym rather than staying with your family, friends, and loved ones.
- You start missing out or falling behind on your office work, assignments, and other general engagements.
- You only ever feel truly content and happy while exercising. Other things and people that previously bought happiness to you mean little to nothing compared to working out.
- Another sign of exercise addiction is when you start extending your sessions and indulge in excessive training and workout routines.
- You no longer exercise for relaxation or better health but only do it for the sake of looking like the best version of yourself.
- You develop an unhealthy obsession with appearances. You are never satisfied with how you look and constantly try to look more ripped with each passing day.
When you should see a Doctor?
Whether it is because of your exercise addiction or entirely different reasons, over-exercising is bound to create numerous problems for your physical and mental well-being.
Therefore, it is mandatory to consult a professional doctor after diagnosing yourself with this serious disorder.
You can decide whether now is the right time to book an appointment or not based on the following factors:
- When your workout sessions leave you completely drained out and exhausted.
- When exercising gradually starts to take over other important aspects of your life.
- If you suffer from anxiety and depression or are easily agitated and irritated after exercising.
- Losing your appetite or inability to sleep calls for you to seek a professional’s help immediately.
The biggest takeaway from this is that you should waste no time consulting a doctor when you feel like getting fed up with your exercise routine or seeing its after-effects sweeping through your social and personal lives.
An early diagnosis and treatment can protect you from otherwise irreversible damage to your mental and physical health.
How to Take Care of Yourself and Recover
Apart from seeking a professional’s help in recovering from this disorder, there are multiple other changes that you can incorporate in your daily life to feel better and recover from the side effects of over-exercising. These steps are explained in detail below:
Take a Break
No matter how difficult it may seem to put a halt to your exercise routine, try and take a well-deserved break. It will allow your body to recover, recharge, and recuperate from all the damage caused by intensive workouts.
Stop going to the gym, running, or any other form of exercise that you usually participate in. Instead, stay at home, watch a good movie, read some books, play with the kids, and do any other chore you like to keep you occupied and entertained for the time being.
Doing so will help blow off some steam, and you will be pleasantly surprised by just how refreshing this can be.
Get a massage
Another thing that can get your mind off of exercise and all the pain that it entails is a nice and relaxing massage.
Athletes and sportsmen prefer this method for relaxing and recharging their capacities, which is guaranteed to do wonders for you.
Drink more water
Overtraining or excessive exercising can cause dehydration and dilapidated water levels in the body. So, to recover, you should increase your daily water intake for better hydration and body maintenance. As a result, you will see a considerable improvement in your health in no time.
Mixed workouts or cross-training mixes up the rhythm when it comes to exercising. It is a moderate and endurable form of exercise that doesn’t require much exertion but still keeps your muscles toned and prevents you from becoming lazy.
Get More Sleep
As we mentioned before, a good night’s sleep can make all the difference when it comes to recovering from a draining training session.
So, ensure never to miss out on quality sleep after finishing a workout session. Aim for at least six to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep for the best results.
Also, remember to put away your smartphone 2 to 3 hours before going to bed since it can gravely disrupt the quality of your sleep.
Eat A Protein-Rich Diet
The feelings of weakness and fatigue caused by over-exercising can be magnified if there is not enough protein in your diet.
This is why it is crucial for people looking to recover from overtraining to consume more protein-rich foods. Examples of such foods include poultry, fish, seafood, eggs, cottage cheese, lean meats, etc.
And with that being said, we have reached the end of our article about the symptoms, dangers, and treatment of over-exercising.
Remember that no matter how appealing the small-term gains of Over-Exercising may seem, never exercise for a longer or higher intensity than your body can take.
Try to maintain an adequate balance between your workout routine and rest time to make the most out of the benefits of your exercise sessions and stay away from the dangers of over-exercising!
Alas, we wish you a happy, healthy, and stress-free life ahead!